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Vowel deletion as mora usurpation: the case of Yine*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 2013

Eva Zimmermann*
University of Leipzig


Vowel deletion in Yine crucially refers to both morphological and phonological information. It has been argued that the process is only analysable in a theory where the phonology has access to morphology, either on the assumption of different morphological domains of constraint evaluation (Lin 1987, 1997a, b) or on the assumption of morphologically indexed optimality-theoretic constraints (Pater 2009). In contrast, I propose a phonological analysis of vowel deletion in Yine in a parallel Optimality Theory model. The phonology, I assume, has only limited access to morphological information, and can only distinguish between affix and stem material. I argue that the morphemes that trigger deletion of a preceding vowel have a defective underlying representation: they lack a mora, and ‘usurp’ the mora of a preceding vowel.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013

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For helpful comments and discussions I am grateful to the audiences of OCP 8 in Marrakech and the colloquium Neuere Arbeiten zur Grammatiktheorie at the University of Leipzig, where earlier versions of this paper were presented. I am especially indebted to Jochen Trommer and Nina Topintzi for discussion and support and Kirsten Brock for proofreading. Finally, I also thank three anonymous reviewers and the editors of Phonology for their valuable comments and criticism.



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